To keep your painting tools from being lost among other household gear and gadgets, designate one “sacred storage” container for painting essentials. You’ll save time gathering equipment each time you paint and have a system for collecting everything when you finish the project. Best of all, you’ll be more likely to succeed — and a lot less frustrated — if you have all the right stuff handy.
The letters in the article corresopond to the photo, at right
A. This bag from Duluth Trading keeps painting tools well-organized, and its adjustable straps are perfect for holding an articulating pole (B).
B. Sure, a wooden broom handle would gain your paint roller some reach. But an easily adjustable, lightweight, splinter-free articulating pole is incomparable. Once you try one, you’ll be hooked.
C. Roller frames and sleeves of various sizes and nap lengths are paint-kit staples. Start with the universal 9-in. frame for walls and ceilings. (Roller covers with a 3/8-in. nap suit most wall applications and are cheaper by the package.) Use a 6-in. frame with a longer handle and narrower sleeves to paint behind radiators or to cover smaller surfaces.
D. A small bucket, such as the Handy Paint Pail, is easier to hold and dip your brush into than the gallon bucket of paint. Its onboard magnet keeps an idle brush out of the paint but in easy reach.
E. Safety glasses are essential when you’re painting over your head, and you’re much more likely to use them if they’re close at hand.
F. Designate two screwdrivers (a Phillips and a flat-blade) to keep with your painting supplies so you don’t have to hunt for them. Note: The flat-blade screwdriver is not for opening paint cans (see G).
G. Paint can openers are usually handed out for free whenever you buy paint, and they are easier and safer to use than a screwdriver. Keep one in your paint bag; they seem to vanish from general tool collections (maybe because the handle features a bottle opener).
H. The tape measure is another tool that seems to grow legs, so it’s a good idea to allocate one to your painting gear for accurately sizing up rooms to calculate paint quantities.
I. Keeping your good-quality paintbrushes out of the household’s general tool supply helps to protect them from misuse. Store them with their covers on to keep the bristles clean and straight.
J. A paintbrush comb makes cleanup easier and more thorough, especially for pulling paint from the base of the bristles.
K. A 5-in-1 (7-in-1, 10-in-1, whatever it takes) tool is worthwhile for its roller-scraping feature alone, which removes a surprising amount of paint from the roller sleeve — allowing you to save paint for reuse and conserve water when you wash the roller. Read the label to see all the other tricks this tool can perform; you’ll love it.
L. Although masking tape has myriad household uses, keep at least one basic type with your paint supplies. (After all, blocking paint was its original purpose.) To prevent seepage and improve adhesion, always clean surfaces before you apply tape.
M. Stir sticks are free from paint retailers, so get at least one new one for each color of paint. When you’re finished, let the paint-coated stick dry; then label it with the date, paint brand and color and area of application for future reference.
N. To protect your good brushes from misuse, reserve an inexpensive brush for sweeping dust from crevices before painting or for applying paint stripper.
OTHER ESSENTIALS (not shown in the photo):
- Painters’ hats cost only about $1 and protect your hair and face from spatters and drips – or from accidental contact with a freshly painted surface. Keep one on hand, if not on your head.
- A canvas drop cloth is traditionally considered a professional painter’s tool, but its advantages make it worthwhile for a DIYer to own. The sturdy fabric doesn’t shift easily, is not slippery to walk on, and is way more absorbent than an old bed sheet. (Like a pair of jeans, the canvas becomes softer and friendlier with use.)
- Roller trays come in different thicknesses, shapes, sizes and designs. You may have to try a few before you find one you like. Look for one sturdy enough to hold a quart of paint even if you pick up the tray with one hand. Once you settle on a favorite, keep it in your paint bag.
- A hammer comes in handy for setting nail pops or pulling nails from the wall when prepping the surface. Use it to tap down the lid of the paint can when you’re finished. (Just be sure to hit the lid only along the very edges.)